It was just last December that Collin Guggenheim was helping to lead John Curtis to a Division I state football championship.
On Tuesday night, Guggenheim was again part of a key part of a strong team effort in the post-season as the Patriots held off Byrd 70-65 in overtime of a Division I second-round game at Curtis.
Eighth-seeded Curtis, which had a first-round bye, advances to play at No. 1 seed Scotlandville in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Guggenheim, who was a junior quarterback last football season, and senior Andrew Stagni scored 17 points each to lead the Patriots. Tyler Taylor and Rashad Holmes added 12 points each and Jourdan Stipe had 10.
“Collin brings a winning mentality to the game,” Patriots coach Mike Krajcer said. “He’s always talking things up. Even when he’s not in game he’s constantly talking.”
Guggenheim said he’s just regaining his basketball form after missing his first two seasons at Curtis because of injuries. He helped lead a spirited effort as the Patriots dove on the court to grab some key loose balls in overtime to hold off a persistent Yellow Jackets team.
“We just have phenomenal chemistry,” Guggenheim said. “We just came together as one and played for one another.”
Both teams had their ups and downs at the foul line, but the Patriots made their free throws when they counted the most.
After making just 6 of 18 free throws in regulation, Curtis made all eight of its free throws in the extra period.
The Patriots led by three at halftime even though they made just 3 of 10 free throws and two of the misses came on the front end of one-and-ones.
“If we had made our free throws in the first half we could have had a 10-point lead at halftime instead of a three-point lead,” Krajcer said. “But at the end we did make our free throws.
“Give Byrd credit. They played hard and they crashed the boards.”
Byrd, which finished 8 of 17 at the foul line, made just 1 of 7 free throws in the third and fourth quarters combined but made all three of its free throws in overtime.
“We missed some free throws at the end and we missed some layups,” Jackets coach Rusty Johnson said. “We had a lot more fouls than they did.”
Johnathan Stewart’s three-point play for Byrd started the overtime scoring.
Back-to-back baskets by Holmes and Stipe gave the Patriots the lead before the Jackets regained it on two free throws by Demetrius Hill.
Taylor made two free throws to give Curtis the lead and, just like the football team, the Patriots defense made it hold up.
Holmes made a steal and layup and Stagni made a steal and fed Holmes, who was fouled and made both free throws.
“We got to some loose balls,” Krajcer said, “and we got some transition out of that.”
Holmes made two more free throws for a 66-61 lead and Stagni made four free throws to complete the scoring for Curtis.
Jerico Lewis and Hill had 16 each to lead Byrd.
Curtis pushed its three-point halftime lead to seven early in the second quarter, but Hill scored nine straight Byrd points to help the Jackets take a 42-41 lead.
Guggenheim made one of two free throws to tie the score at the end of the third quarter.
The score was tied at 50 before Stagni scored on a drive and fed Guggenheim for a layup. After a basket by Byrd’s Jamoria Cooksey, Stagni made two free throws.
But the Patriots didn’t score in the final two minutes and Lewis made a 3-pointer and Nehimiah Lee made one of two free throws with 7.5 seconds left to force overtime.
Curtis scored 10 of the last 14 points in the extra period.
“This is the most fun I’ve ever had coaching,” Krajcer said.
Lewis started Byrd’s scoring with a 3-pointer and added a three-point play to help the Jackets take an 11-8 lead.
Holmes scored the last three points of the first quarter, which ended with the score tied 13-13.
Guggenheim scored seven points as the Patriots built a 23-17 lead before Isaiah Carter made back-to-back 3-pointers to help Byrd take a 28-25 lead.
Curtis pulled even then Stagni got his first points by converting a three-point play with four seconds left to give the Patriots a 31-28 halftime lead.